Cattle are landed in Africa after Red Sea stranding, but camels are stuck due to foot-and-mouth outbreak
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2012:
CAIRO–Fear of foot-and-mouth disease left thousands of camels stranded as of March 31, 2012 aboard a livestock transport ship in the Red Sea, the Egypt Independent and Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
Thousands more camels were “stuck in a Suez quarry,” the Egypt Independent and Al-Masry Al-Youm said. In addition, the Egyptian agriculture ministry prevented the import of more than 10,000 camels from Sudan on March 27, 2012, the Egypt Independent and Al-Masry Al-Youm added.
A new strain of foot-and-mouth disease called SAT-2, against which most existing vaccine stocks were ineffective, had already hit more than 60,000 animals in Egypt, killing 10,000, said the news portal Green Prophet. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Association warned that 6.3 million buffalo and cattle and 7.5 million sheep and goats might be at risk of infection. “In 2012, the Eid will be celebrated at the end of August,” observed the FAO, “which implies an increased risk of virus dispersal across the region via increased movements ofanimals, particularly lambs, during the months of May through July.” A variety of human service charities and the Egyptian Society of Animal Friends reportedly tried to vaccinate livestock ahead of the fast-moving outbreak, but most used the ineffective older vaccines.
“An [earlier] outbreak of SAT-2 in Libya caused 11% mortality there,” summarized ProMed, the online information exchange operated by the International Society for Infectious Diseases. SAT-2 is believed to have reached Egypt with cattle smuggled from Libya. “The Egyptian authorities are trying to obtain appropriate vaccines abroad and claim that tighter measures are being undertaken to prevent the spread of the disease,” ProMed said. “Steps are also being undertaken to produce the relevant vaccines.”
The Egypt Independent on March 7, 2011 published a photo of dead calves “thrown in front of the headquarters of Gharbiya governorate, during a villagers’ protest.” A similar photo appeared a week later in Al Wafd. “Throwing FMD-infected animals in front of government buildings demonstrates a deplorable level of biosecurity,” said ProMed cofounder Jack Woodall.
The shipload of camels was the second large livestock cargo in less than a month to be stranded in the Red Sea after being refused permission to land the animals in Egypt. Animals Australia on March 1, 2012 received an anonymous tip that the Gracia Del Mar, originally carrying 5,600 cattle, had lost 2,750 en route from Brazil, and was not allowed to land the survivors.
Built in 1981, recently converted to carry livestock, after reported sale to “Syrian interests,” the Gracia Del Mar is registered to Bay Route Shipping, of Panama. Reports from various maritime and Egyptian sources agreed that the Gracia Del Mar experienced ventilation failure. Instead of stopping for repairs at Gibralter, which would have prolonged the animals’ time on board, the Gracia Del Mar pushed on, according to this version.
Compassion in World Farming on March 18, 2011 thanked “supporters who sent 40,000 emails in 40 hours to the Brazilian and Egyptian authorities and the World Animal Health Organization,” resulting in the surviving cattle eventually being offloaded into small boats and distributed along the coast of Africa, ANIMAL PEOPLE was told in an unconfirmed report. “We are told that the Gracia Del Mar was hit by a freezing snowstorm off the coast of Algeria and thousands of the animals succumbed to the cold,” CIWF said. Skeptical of that, livestock shipping experts at the Animal Transport Association conference in Vancouver told ANIMAL PEOPLE that cattle deaths from exposure on shipboard are practically unheard of.
This was the sixth largest known loss of livestock in shipment to the Middle East. About 5,500 sheep died aboard the Cormo Express in 2003, after Kuwait and Saudi Arabia refused to allow the ship to unload, on the claim that the sheep were diseased. The surviving 44,000 sheep were eventually donated to Eritrea. The Danny F II sank off Lebanon in 2009 with 18,000 cattle and 10,000 sheep aboard. The UNICEB, carrying 67,000 sheep, burned and sank in 1996, as did the Farid Fares in 1980 with 40,605 sheep aboard. Also in 1980, the Shaddia sank in the Red Sea with 12,000 sheep aboard.